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MOBILE TELECOMMUNICATIONS HEALTH AND SAFETY NEWS

Pedestrians overtake drivers in US for mobile related hospitalisation


Man_speaking_on_mobile_phone2More than 1,500 pedestrians were treated in hospital emergency rooms in 2010 for injuries related to using mobile phones while walking, according to estimates in a US study.

 
The Ohio State University study found the number of people admitted to US hospitals who were injured while walking and using a mobile phone doubled between 2005 and 2010, with young people talking on their phones the most likely to have an accident.
 
“The role of cell phones in distracted driving injuries and deaths gets a lot of attention and rightly so, but we need to also consider the danger cell phone use poses to pedestrians,” said lead researcher Jack Nasar.
 
“If current trends continue, I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of injuries to pedestrians caused by cell phones doubles again between 2010 and 2015.”
 
The researchers analysed injury reports from 100 US hospitals and found that although the total number of pedestrian injuries had more than halved between 2004 and 2010, the proportion of injuries related to mobile phone use had steadily increased.
 
“Mobile-phone related injuries among pedestrians increased relative to total pedestrian injuries, and paralleled the increase in injuries for drivers, and in 2010 exceeded those for drivers,” the study published in Accident Analysis & Prevention found.
 
The researchers estimated just 256 pedestrians were treated in emergency rooms for injuries received while using a cell phone in 2005, which had risen every year since then to an estimated 1,506 in 2010 across the whole country.
 
The study found that young people aged 16 to 25 were most likely to be injured as distracted pedestrians, and surprisingly the majority of injuries came while people were talking rather than texting.
 
“As might be expected, young people are the most likely to be injured by distracted walking, the researchers said in a media release
 
“The 21- to 25-year-old age group led the way, with 1,003 total injuries during the seven years covered by this study.  The 16- to 20-year-olds were not far behind, with 985 total injuries.”
                           
“For pedestrians, talking on the phone accounted for about 69 per cent of injuries, compared to texting, which accounted for about 9 per cent.”
 
In Australia, statistics from the Australian Road Deaths Database have showed a consistent decline in pedestrian fatalities from 501 deaths in 1989 to 173 in 2012.
 
Pedestrian fatalities
 
“It is important for mobile phone users to ensure they are aware of their surroundings when operating their devices and to only talk or text when it is safe to do so,” AMTA CEO Chris Althaus said.

 

“Mobile phone users should be aware that road use - whether as a driver, rider or pedestrian - is a complex task that requires alertness, awareness of their surroundings and compliance with the road rules.”

 
Published 6 November 2013

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